By A’isha Biola Raji
Nuclear experts from Centre for Energy Research and Training (CERT) Zaria have shown their grievance over what they described as “strangulation “of the Nigerian Nuclear Energy Program by the Nigerian Atomic Energy Commission (NAEC).
The experts said this at a press conference held in Abuja. According to them, since NAEC took over from Energy Commission of Nigeria (ECN) in 2006, research activities have dwindled, as salary payment havebecome epileptic.
According to Dr. Paul Ogunleye, CERT, he said prior to the establishment of NAEC, the two centres, CERD (Center for Energy Research and Development) and CERT had no difficulty in discharging their duties as allowances were being paid as at when due. “Now that fund is coming from NAEC which only became active in 2006, there are difficulties in running the centre”, he said.
He said government should find solution to the plight of the centres, “The understanding of the working relationship between ECN and its centres across the country is attributed to the successes recorded in the growth and development of nuclear science and technology in Nigeria”, Dr. Ogunleye said.
Calling on government to ensure that staff of the centres are paid allowances that had been hanging since December 2011 he said, “Due to the nature of the industry, its staff cannot go on industrial action
but notwithstanding, government should consider health issues and pay peculiar allowance as radiation in the industry is dangerous to health of the staff.”
He however warned that, if the situation continue, and the working environment is not improved, the staff would be forced to move to another industry hence jeopardizing all the investment government has made on nuclear energy in the country.
It would be recalled that Nigeria Atomic Energy Commission was established in 1976, it did not take up until 2006 with Dr. F. E Osaisai as the pioneer Director-General and Chief Executive, a position he held up until 2011.
According to a source at CERT, during the first four years of Dr.
Osaisai’s tenure, he ran the affairs of the commission single handed without a statutory board.
The source said, “Despite the fact that he inherited three nuclear centers namely CERD Ife, CERT Zaria, Nuclear Technology Centre (NTC) Abuja situated in Obafemi Awolowo University, Ahmadu Bello Universityand Shetsco, Abuja respectively, there were no hitches compared to problems the centres are now facing.